I’ve been a stay home mom for each of my kids from birth until age 4 when they were old enough for VPK (voluntary pre kindergarten). It hasn’t always been fun, but if I had the financial stability of being a stay home mom and avoiding outside influence at such a young age then I believe the sacrifices are worth it.
However, as a stay home mom, I always had a problem socializing my kids. When the girls were younger, we lived in an apartment complex in Pinellas county where there was a pool and playground on site and always filled with kids their ages. Also, twice a week we went to circle time at a nearby library. Being “nearby” (meaning “walking distance”) is very important for a mom who can’t drive. Unfortunately, when we moved to Spring Hill all that was gone. We rented a house in a neighborhood filled with kids, and even though they were nice, they were much older than my daughters. It wasn’t until a year later when my sister moved close by with her sons (my daughters ages) that they regularly began socializing. Riley was nearly 4 before she could talk so that everyone could understand her. Still, it’s one thing to take them to a park or social group and another thing entirely to leave them at a preschool class without you where there may be kids who are not being taught the same things you feel are important (I’m being as nice as I can here).
Now that the girls are older and settling into elementary school (almost middle school) life, they’ve become less of a concern. My problem now is our younger son Link. I have a couple friends with little kids his age, but their busy work schedules and “life” in general makes it difficult for us to get together. Mostly we see each others little ones via facebook, and even though Link absolutely LOVES watching videos of the kids, there’s clearly no interaction. Evidently being a SAHM is also a rare thing in my area. I only know of one other stay home mom (with a pre school aged child), but her daughter is just an infant, and while age won’t matter a year from now, I wouldn’t necessarily call it “socializing”.
This brings me to my point. Link goes with his dad to drop the girls off at school each morning, and lately when he comes home he’s begging through tears that he wants to go to school too. I know he doesn’t totally get that going to school means mommy and daddy won’t be there, boobies will DEFINITELY not be at there (that’s on the pro side I admit), and he won’t be attending the same school as his sisters (I believe he thinks he will be), but we’re sort of toying with the idea of signing him up for a few hours a day at a local preschool just to get some social interaction and maybe a little “mommy/daddy seperation” (if you’ve heard us talk you know there isn’t much of that).
While Chris is encouraging the idea, I’m on the fence. Sure I see the upside, a social environment may entice Link to want to potty train, improve language development, and learn how to better interact with other kids (plus they make the cutest little kid holiday crafts in preschools). He’ll also learn that just because mom and dad aren’t there doesn’t mean they won’t come back, and most importantly, he actually wants to go. I’m afraid if I discourage him he may never want to go. The downside is that I’ve worked in a preschool before and no matter what kind of school it is, you are going to have all different personality types there. I’ve seen some of the sweetest little kids come in and within months pick up the bad habits they learned from other kids. I’m not saying my kids are perfect, sometimes they drive me down right bat sh*t crazy, but they are usually well mannered and behave in public, and I have often said “nothing makes you appreciate your own more than working with other peoples kids”. Of course not all kids in preschool are “bad influences”, I’ve met some of the sweetest little ones ever while working at the school I did, and I would love for Link to have friends like them to play with and learn from. I’m just torn, maybe a little heartbroken. I accept that maybe “I’m” not ready for him to go to school yet. You only get a handful of years with your little ones and I’d hate to waste those with him in a preschool if it wasn’t totally necessary.
I could be totally jumping the gun here. We could go look at a school tomorrow and the second we walk out the door he could freak out and change his mind, and more than likely he will, they ALL do. So at that point, do we commit to it knowing after a few weeks he’ll get into a routine and perhaps even look forward to it, or do we yank him out and try again in VPK?
Ugh…decisions decisions. Being the parent SUCKS